Cricket: Remarkable turnaround for Watson

Shane Watson will become Australia's 44th Test cricket captain after Michael Clarke's back injury ruled him out of the fourth Test against India starting overnight (NZT). Photo / Getty Images.
Shane Watson will become Australia's 44th Test cricket captain after Michael Clarke's back injury ruled him out of the fourth Test against India starting overnight (NZT). Photo / Getty Images.

Shane Watson will become Australia's 44th Test cricket captain after Michael Clarke's back injury ruled him out of the fourth and final Test against India starting overnight (NZT).

Watson's promotion caps a remarkable turnaround in fortunes for the vice-captain after he was suspended from last week's third Test at Mohali.

He only arrived back in India on Tuesday after returning home and attending the birth of his first child when suspended along with three other players for failing to submit ideas on how to improve the struggling team as required by coach Mickey Arthur.

"It's really a dream come true to be asked to captain your country," said Watson.

"I've captained some one-day internationals, but to be asked to captain a Test will be the ultimate honour.

"It's obviously very disappointing that Michael hasn't come up. His batting and leadership will certainly be sorely missed.

"But I'm looking forward to the challenge and responsibility over the next five days."

Duty national selector Rod Marsh said Clarke had done everything he could to be fit in time for the Test where Australia will battle to avoid a 0-4 series whitewash.

"(He) has worked hard to be fit and done everything the medical staff have asked of him, but has not come up," Marsh said.

"The decision for Shane Watson to step in as captain was a very straightforward one for the National Selection Panel.

"Shane is the vice-captain on this tour and as a senior member of the group is well credentialled to lead Australia in Michael's absence.

"The CA Board has endorsed the NSP recommendation that Shane should captain Australian in the fourth Test.

"Shane is an experienced player in Indian conditions and has captained the Australian ODI side nine times."

Australia's final XI will be announced at the coin toss.

-AAP

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